As if eating frangipane flavoured puff pastry cakes throughout January wasn’t enough, people in Normandy will be eating pancakes (crêpes) this evening. Today is a religious festival known as La Chandeleur (Candlemas) that is celebrated on the 2nd February – exactly 40 days after Christmas.
French pancakes tend to be fairly thin and are cooked in a special pan known as a crêpière with a very shallow lip. American pancakes are smaller and fluffy and UK pancakes use a thicker batter. For authentic French crêpes, use the following recipe:
2 cups flour
2 ¼ cups of milk
2 tablespoons of melted butter
pinch of salt
If you are only making dessert crêpes, then you can add any of the following: 2 tablespoons of sugar, vanilla extract, alcohol such as brandy, rum, grand marnier. In Normandy, Calvados (the local apple brandy) is added to both the batter and used as a topping.
Cook on both sides, adding a little melted butter to the pan as necessary. To perfect your flipping technique, watch the video to see how it’s done.
Of course, a festival that is Christian and has Pagan roots has a number of superstitions and sayings associated with it. They range from putting a pancake on the top of the wardrobe to holding a gold coin. You can read more about the superstitions here https://www.thelocal.fr/20160201/chandeleur-crepes-france-most-superstitious-day-of-year The weather also plays an important part in the day according to folklore and determines the weather for the next 40 days. Fortunately, it’s been a sunny but cold day in Normandy today.
Whatever the weather, you can enjoy your crêpes with the topping of your choice – jam, chocolate spread or orange/lemon with sugar. The Normandy option is served with apples cooked with sugar and Calvados to create a caramel and apple brandy topping. Happy flipping!
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